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Light At The End Of Tunnel

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By Uade Ahimie

Light At The End Of Tunnel

Over the last few days I have read about how major organizations are trembling over the Gupta family fiasco in South Africa. How a major UK PR Company founded in 1987 by one of Margaret Thatcher’s favorite PR advisers Bell Pottinger has collapsed because of the smear campaign it ran that sparked racial tension in South Africa.

KPMG South Africa has fired its executive management team following damning findings in an investigation report which acknowledged flaws in tax services showing that the former finance minister of South Africa, Pravin Gordham was involved in setting up a “spy rogue unit” when he was a minister.

Another big-name consulting firm McKenzie has also been called out by the South African Anti-Corruption Groups. Though they have denied any wrong-doing, they are currently carrying out in-house investigations to ascertain if there were any levels of complicity.

Also named in the scandal is SAP SE, the software company based in Germany. As part of their preliminary actions during internal investigations, four South African managers were compulsorily sent on leave following media reports that the local unit had agreed to pay commissions to a firm which had direct links with Jacob Zuma’s son.

Like the saying goes, there is never any smoke without a fire, and the ambers of this flame has been increasing fanned for over the last couple of years as the South African President has had to face two vote of confidence sessions in the parliament.

The fiasco in South Africa helps bring to light the continued misuse of tax payers’ monies and country resources by elected officials to the detriment of the populace. They line their pockets with the nation’s resources, opening the coffers for family members to have their fill. The war has been ongoing for a while in South Africa and it seems that after losing several battles during the war, the tide is gradually turning to the side of those fighting for truth and justice.

In fact, the gradual wind of change blowing across the continent – since that dramatic day in Nigeria when an incumbent president conceded victory in an election to his opponent, is beginning to spread to other facets of leadership as evident in the events in South Africa.

The voice of change requesting justice over corruption in the corridors of power in South Africa is equally filtering into other countries. The tide looks set to overwhelm leaders who continue to embrace and institutionalize corruption and economic crimes across the continent. 

Today it Is KPMG in South Africa, who knows who it would be next and in which country? Leaders of conglomerates, multinationals and/or consulting businesses need to realize that holding brief for corrupt leaders would certainly truncate the shelf life of their organizations. The Arthur Anderson and Enron debacle as well as similar cases are pointers to the fact that organizations that decide to pitch their tents with corrupt leaders and systems will ultimately go under.

Considering all this, let me bring the issue back home to Nigeria by asking the question to the leaders of the big businesses – where are you on the corruption moral index? The truth is, only Nigerians can re-build the trust of the populace in the Nigeria Project.

Are we towing the line of KPMG SA by helping to promote some form of wrong doing, or are we like Bell Pottinger, sowing the seeds of ethnic hatred and/or religious bigotry? Like the popular saying “every day for the thief and one day for the owner” there will always be a rendezvous with history for the promoters of corruption.

In conclusion, I believe that the time has come for the leadership of large corporations and businesses to start re-building trust and integrity. The responsibility starts with the leaders. Will they rise to the occasion? in businesses

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